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Bobo Ske Deeton-Dotten

See the cute little boy making the kissy face on the page for our latest episode? That’s Grant’s son, whom you’ve heard him mention on the show. Guthrie’s now about twice as old as he was then and he’ll be heading to kindergarten this autumn.

San Diego allows some school choice, so Grant and his family have been touring language immersion schools, including ones for Spanish and Chinese. These are schools where all or nearly all the instruction is in a language that is foreign to the students. In some cases, the students don’t even know that the teachers can speak English.

In response to Grant’s report, listeners told us about their experiences with language-immersive education. Typical is the response from a listener who described her Canadian-French immersion experience as “magic.”

• Nathan says the German immersion education he experienced in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was “like one large puzzle. I loved it and had no problem developing my English skills! As proof, I went on to take honors English courses.”

• Sandra says her two grandchildren in Encinitas, California, have been in Spanish immersion and that her granddaughter, in the first grade, already reads, writes, and understands Spanish. Sandra says, “The children seem to easily accept and adapt to the variety.”

• Marie, also in Encinitas, says she vaguely remembers her experience of three years of language immersion in Oakley, California, and was surprised when her mother told her she had been fluent in Spanish in the second grade: “I apparently used to translate for my peers that spoke Spanish only. My Spanish has since faded but I love the idea of giving this opportunity to my (future) children.”

• We also got a great email from Sandra, telling us about her Spanish immersion experience in Redwood City, California. “My family, all English-only speakers, took a bit of a risk in enrolling me in the immersion classes, but since I was starting at such an early age, it was easy enough for them to learn along with me, at least for the first couple of years.” She also adds, “I’ll admit to it, writing ‘fluently bilingual’ on a resume really does feel good.”

Also On The Latest Show

  • Soup to nuts.
  • Who let the hawk out?
  • A word for the last serving of food nobody will take.
  • Padiddle, the one-headlight car game.
  • A spiffy word quiz — play along and see if you’re faster than Martha and Grant.
  • “Old Hannah” as an African-American name for the sun. Here’s Leadbelly singing “Go Down Old Hannah.”
  • Give this episode of the show a listen!

We also explored the radio roots of a nonsense scat-sounding camp song that includes the verse “bobo ske deeton-dotten.” Here are two versions: one, two.

A bunch of listeners wrote about Ish Kabibble, which was a part of the version our caller gave, but is not used by in any of the other versions we could find. We do, indeed, know about Ish Kabibble!

Peace and love,

Martha and Grant

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